Time Longer than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, 1850-1950 / Edition 1

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Overview

The story of the civil rights movement is well-known, popularized by both the media and the academy. Yet the version of the story recounted time and again by both history books and PBS documentaries is a simplified one, reduced to an inspirational but ultimately facile narrative framed around Dr. King, the Kennedys, and the redemptive days of Montgomery and Memphis, in which black individuals become the rescued survivors. This story renders the mass of black people invisible, refusing to take seriously everyday people whose years of persistent struggle often made the big events possible.

Time Longer than Rope unearths the ordinary roots of extraordinary change, demonstrating the depth and breadth of black oppositional spirit and activity that preceded the civil rights movement. The diversity of activism covered by this collection extends from tenant farmers' labor reform campaign in the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas massacre to Harry T. Moore’s leadership of a movement that registered 100,000 black Floridians years before Montgomery, and from women's participation in the Garvey movement to the changing meaning of the Lincoln Memorial. Concentrating on activist efforts in the South, key themes emerge, including the under appreciated importance of historical memory and community building, the divisive impact of class and sexism, and the shifting interplay between individual initiative and structural constraints.

More than simply illuminating a hitherto marginalized fragment of American history, Time Longer than Rope provides a crucial pre-history of the modern civil rights movement. In the process, it alters our entire understanding of African American activism and the very meaning of “civil rights.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An exciting and much needed anthology. Collectively, this astute selection of provocative essays and the powerful introduction effectively challenge worn frameworks and outmoded narratives of the civil rights movement. Pushing the time line back to before the Civil War, Charles M. Payne and Adam Green complicate our understanding of how everyday people transformed their own lives and changed this nation’s history. This splendid volume is a vital contribution to African American history and underscores the importance of dissent in America.”
-Darlene Clark Hine,co-author of A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America

“Readers will find this volume a helpful companion to capturing an under explored area of black activism from the slavery era to the mid-twentieth century. These essays are especially helpful in assessing the rural historical experiences of African Americans and advancing our common historical understanding and knowledge on key aspects of this element of the black experience.”
-The Journal of Southern History

,

“The essays that make up Time Longer Than Rope skillfully express the variety, depth, and resilience of African Americans’ resistance in the effort to achieve political freedom and greater economic opportunities and to maintain viable intraracial community associations to fight for equality. A useful tool that will facilitate student awareness of the varied and long-term struggle for black freedom in America."

-The Journal of American History

,

“A comprehensive collection of essays and narratives.”
-Ebony

,

“An exciting and much needed anthology. Collectively, this astute selection of provocative essays and the powerful introduction effectively challenge worn frameworks and outmoded narratives of the civil rights movement. Pushing the time line back to before the Civil War, Charles M. Payne and Adam Green complicate our understanding of how everyday people transformed their own lives and changed this nation’s history. This splendid volume is a vital contribution to African American history and underscores the importance of dissent in America.”
-Darlene Clark Hine,co-author, A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814767030
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 584
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles M. Payne is Sally Dalton Robinson Professor of African American studies, History and Sociology at Duke University. He is the author of the prize-winning I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.

Adam Green is Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at New York University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Slave Labor Camps in Early America: Overcoming Denial and Discovering the Gulag 17
2 Abraham H. Galloway: Wilmington's Lost Prophet and the Rise of Black Radicalism in the American South 37
3 Negotiating and Transforming the Public Sphere: African American Political Life in the Transition from Slavery to Freedom 68
4 "Liberty Dearly Bought": The Making of Civil War Memory in Afro-American Communities in the South 111
5 The New Negro in the American Congo: World War I and the Elaine, Arkansas Massacre of 1919 150
6 Intellectual Pan-African Feminists: Amy Ashwood-Garvey and Amy Jacques-Garvey 179
7 "Eat Your Bread without Butter, but Pay Your Poll Tax!": Roots of the African American Voter Registration Movement in Florida, 1919-1920 196
8 "With the Aid of God and the F.S.A.": The Louisiana Farmers' Union and the African American Freedom Struggle in the New Deal Era 230
9 Beyond the "Talented Tenth": Black Elites, Black Workers, and the Limits of Accommodation in Industrial Birmingham, 1900-1921 276
10 The Power of Remembering: Black Factory Workers and Union Organizing in the Jim Crow Era 302
11 Being Red and Black in Jim Crow America: On the Ideology and Travails of Afro-America's Socialist Pioneers, 1877-1930 336
12 Building Interracial Democracy: The Civil Rights Movement in Louisville, Kentucky, 1945-1956 411
13 "A Bland, Scholarly, Teetotalling Sort of Man": Harry T. Moore and the Struggle for Black Equality in Florida 440
14 Leading the Civil Rights Vanguard in South Carolina: John McCray and the Lighthouse and Informer, 1939-1954 462
15 A Marble House Divided: The Lincoln Memorial, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Politics of Memory, 1939-1963 492
16 "We Men Ain't We": Mas(k)ulinity and the Gendered Politics of Black Nationalism 536
About the Contributors 565
Permissions 569
Index 571
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